China proposes new target for better air quality

BEIJING (Reuters) -China has proposed new targets for improved air quality as part of its green and low-carbon development, state news agency Xinhua reported on Thursday, although the targets are still above a limit recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Chinese cities have grappled with high air pollution readings in recent months despite authorities’ efforts to improve air quality in recent years.

The country aims to reduce the national average concentration of fine particulate matter, a measure of air quality, to less than 28 micrograms per cubic metre by 2027 and less than 25 micrograms by 2035.

China previously set its national “interim” air quality standard at 35 micrograms per cubic metre, well above the 5 microgram limit recommended by the WHO.

The proposal outlined areas including the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region and the Yangtze River Delta as a “key battlefield”, where it will focus on controlling the amount of fine particulate matter and vigorously reduce the emission of multiple pollutants.

It will also promote an ultra-low emission upgrade for steel and cement manufacture along with other high-emitting industries.

The world’s top carbon emitter reinforced its goal to achieve carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060.

China would build capacity and a system for carbon emission controls, the plan said, with a gradual shift from controls over energy consumption.

China will include more products in its carbon market, and improve its the market for greenhouse gas trading.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroomEditing by David Goodman, Alexandra Hudson)